Alternative Teaching Certification Programs in Georgia

The push for alternative certification routes in Georgia got its start in the late 90s when the student population in Northwest Georgia began to grow faster than the rate of new teacher graduates, according to a report by the U.S. Department of Education.

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To address those teacher shortages, the Northwest Regional Educational Service Agency worked with the state board of education to develop an alternative certification pathway. That program was the precursor to the state's present day program, the Georgia Teacher Alternative Preparation Program or GA TAPP.

Designed for career switchers with a bachelor's degree, GA TAPP programs provide an internship and induction program that lead to a renewable teaching certificate. In 2008-2009, Georgia issued over 1,000 teaching certificates to people entering the field through alternate routes, according to the National Center for Alternative Certification.

Today, there are more than a dozen regional educational service agencies throughout the state, which offer alternative paths to certification. Exact requirements vary by program but all involve supervision by a team of qualified mentors called the Candidate Support Team (CST). The CST evaluates program participants and recommends appropriate paths through which participants can acquire core competencies.

Another alternative preparation option is the Georgia Teaching Fellows program, currently accepting applications for its Augusta, Southwest GA, and metro Atlanta locations. This program requires participants to commit to teaching three years in a high-need school district. The program starts with an intensive, six-week summer training institute to prepare fellows for the reality of the classroom. Fellows then teach full-time while completing coursework in the evenings. According to an April, 2011 article by Jason Wermers in the Augusta Chronicle, the Georgia Teaching Fellows program aims to recruit and train over 500 new teachers in critical shortage areas over the next five years.

Work in Education with Georgia Teacher Certification

Students in a Georgia alternative teacher certification program should be prepared to utilize a variety of educational sources to learn about new developments in the field of education and figure out the current trends. Sources that alternative teaching students should be comfortable with include professional literature and reputable Internet sites. In order to create effective teaching plans and curricula, alternative certification students should anticipate learning how to use a wide range of technology and resources in their educational planning. These skills and a strong knowledge of the educational field as a whole can prepare you to take the GACE certification test.

Increase Your Impact in Education

These educational plans and instructional tips should reflect the idea that all students are capable of learning when given the right tools and method of instruction. To reach this goal, you may need to adapt their curricula and teaching methods to suit different classes and individual students. Another important part of a certification program is self-reflection; at each step of the educational process, it's crucial for you to be able to evaluate the success or failure of yours curriculum, look at how your instructional practices affect their students, and figure out how to encourage greater academic achievement in your students. Throughout the course of their career, students should be able to identify areas that need improvement and address those areas with a quality improvement plan.

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